Founded in 2006, Billy’s Buddies exists to help melanoma patients and their caregivers who are faced with uphill challenges and unmarked paths. While much needs to be done to prevent this disease, there is clearly an immediate need for patient and caregiver support. Billy’s Buddies focuses on providing peer support to patients and caregivers who are facing challenges with their diagnosis. It’s often helpful to talk to someone who has had a similar journey with melanoma.
Dealing with melanoma can be overwhelming. With the guidance and support of Billy’s Buddies, there is no need to go it alone.
Throughout his short but vibrant life, Bill Walls was everybody’s buddy — with a love for the outdoors, an infectious smile, and brilliant eyes, Bill’s kindness was remarkable. Despite a fierce struggle with melanoma, Bill kept his spirits high, his faith deep, and his buddies close. His trust in and compassion for others created a network of buddies that was there for Bill in his darkest days. Bill’s family, friends, co-workers, and the strangers he had touched, scheduled appointments, tracked down medical records, researched clinical trials, and provided care for his 18-month old twins.
Such incredible support left Bill and his wife Amy feeling empowered to face each day with courage and confidence. This young and loving couple with so much support and so many resources often wondered how others without buddies would find the strength to fight. On a wintry night just weeks before he died, a normally passive Bill clearly and passionately expressed his wish for others affected by melanoma to always have a buddy.
How Billy’s Buddies Works
Through one-on-one connections with trained volunteers, Billy’s Buddies will provide newly diagnosed melanoma patients, their families, and their caregivers with a Volunteer Buddy to help navigate the medical system, cope with diagnosis and treatment, carry on with daily life, and enjoy rest and renewal. If you are interested in speaking with someone with a similar diagnosis or treatment experience, Billy’s Buddies can also provide a match with a melanoma survivor.
Volunteers Are Needed
Interested applicants must be willing to commit to serving as a Volunteer Buddy for at least two hours per month for one year.
If you are a melanoma survivor yourself and wish to participate as a Volunteer Buddy, we ask that you apply at least one year after completing your own treatment.
Volunteer Buddies will receive comprehensive training in order to provide a variety of levels of support to the patient with whom they are matched. Buddies will provide help in the following ways:
- Provide active listening and support through telephone contact
- Help coordinate support services for patients and their families